NNDC Tories respond to accusations that new Vattenfall committee is politically motivated
- Credit: Archant
The Liberal Democrat and Conservative members of the North Norfolk District Council have locked horns over a new sub-committee announced this week.
At a cabinet meeting on February 5, members elected to establish a sub-committee of cabinet members only, with the aim of easing relations between north Norfolk residents and offshore wind developers Vattenfall.
The Swedish firm is planning to build an offshore wind development to be situated about 47km north-east of Winterton, with onshore impact seeing cabling running initially through Happisburgh, East Ruston and Ridlington, and then inland through North Walsham and Worstead.
As the committee's permanent body is made up of Conservative portfolio holders, some Liberal Democrat councillors feel that they have been wrongly excluded from a process which has an impact on their constituents.
Eris Seward, county councillor for North Walsham East, said: 'It's been designed along party political lines.
'It could potentially impact the people in these areas because the on-the-ground knowledge has been removed from the committee.'
Mr Seward, who represents the ward of North Walsham North at the NNDC continued: 'We should be working together at county and district level so we can have the most powerful and unified voice.'
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Councillor Richard Price, who sits on the committee, said: 'We should leave our politics at the door.
'We've invited Councillor Lee Walker, who represents Happisburgh, to be a permanent guest on the committee, and I hope that she will continue to work with us for as long as necessary.
'We've done it this way for efficiency, we want answers for what will happen when Vattenfall come inshore. If we keep asking questions from a large group we won't get the answers we need.'
Mr Price, who is the ward councillor for Waxham which includes East Runton, added: 'We've made sure that this committee will be as open as possible, and will be working with our PR team to make sure all updates are posted on our site for councillors and the public to access.
'I've also attended parish council meetings for all of the initially affected areas and have contact details for all the councils so we can keep working together.'